One can expect some major changes in transport infrastructure in the coming years if the Centre’s plans regarding transport infrastructure development are anything to go by. In view of the burgeoning traffic crisis, Mr Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways has asked for an extra Rs 25,000 crore; an increase of 18% for the year 2018–2019 over the previous fiscal year for upgrading the transport infrastructure. This is besides the amount of Rs 79,000 crore asked for other infrastructure projects. The 2017–2018’s budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Surface Transport had been Rs 64,900 crore.
An announcement is likely to be made by the Centre about the allocation of Rs 2,000 crore in the upcoming budget for the procurement of electric buses. The states are also likely to get support from the Transport department in form of provisions for personal rapid initiatives and electric buses. An equal allocation of Rs 2,000 crore from the extra fund is set aside for each of the above expenditures. Another Rs 2,000 crore will be used as viability gap funding by the government, which aims to develop bus ports in major cities in alliance with the state governments. The government is also interested in developing the country’s first driverless pod taxi system and is asking interested people to come forward. The system will operate on a 70 km stretch from Manesar in Haryana to Dhaula Kuan in Delhi.
Mr Nitin Gadkari further disclosed that they were doing their best to push the Motor Vehicle Act (Amendment) Bill 2017 which is awaiting approval in the Rajya Sabha. The difference of opinion within the parties with regard to the bill in the earlier Monsoon Session is responsible for the delay, he added. He seemed quite hopeful about its passing in the current session. It is the President’s signature that enables the bill to turn into law.